"Persona Non Grata"

"Daddy…..Daddy…..Daddy!"

Integra's cries rang out all the way down the stairs to the kitchen where I was just finishing up polishing the silverware for the night. It had been just six months since Integra killed Sir Richard and his allies in the dark basement, thus gaining her all-powerful vampire servant, Alucard.

For years, when Arthur was away on business, it was I, Walter, the former Angel of Death and head butler of the Hellsing mansion, who always went to comfort Integra when she had nightmares. It was out of habit, then, that I carelessly tossed the last spoon down on the counter and ran for the stairs. Step after step after step, I climbed one by one, navigating my way quickly but carefully up the narrow spiral staircase of the Hellsing mansion to the bedroom where the new master of the organization lay in unfitful sleep.

Since Integra was not yet of legal age, I was her guardian, at least on paper. However, she had left no doubt who was truly in charge of the organization now. Ascending from the cellar that fateful day after the killing of Sir Richard and his associates, covered in her vanquished enemies' blood with her vampire servant closely in tow, Integra possessed little of the fearful child who had descended there hours earlier. With haunted eyes and a hard won maturity, she declared herself the true and rightful heir of the Hellsing family and thus, of the entire organization. All of the servants, including myself, looked at her with newfound respect and immediately pledged obedience to the new Master.

I arrived at Integra's room and opened the door. In the six months since she became the head of the Hellsing organization, some things had still not changed. The room itself still reflected the youthfulness of its owner, right down to her favorite old dolls strewn about the room. I glanced down, looking into a doll's cold, black, sightless eyes.

I automatically made for the bed and the sleeping form of Integra who tossed restlessly under thick, down covers. And then, I heard the low, warning growl.

What stood before her and me was the being, I hesitate to call it just a man, that made everything different. Alucard slept on his Master's bed in wolf form. His thick, black pelt shone in the moonlight. The wolf lazily opened its eyes and defiantly met my gaze with more intelligence than any animal had a right to have. But then, of course, it wasn't an animal that lay on the bed.

"Go away, Walter." I could hear the vampire's soft, silky voice reverberate in my mind, issuing its warning and chilling me to the very marrow of my old bones.

"My master has no need of your presence here. Not tonight. Not anymore. I am her servant. I am all that she needs. All that she desires."

Almost involuntarily, I stepped in the direction of the bed. Another low growl and this time, a display of very long and very sharp teeth. There was no doubt in my mind what might happen if I did not obey. While the vampire was technically under Integra's command therefore, he would not kill me. However, I had no desire to see just how far Alucard would go and how much blood he'd draw from me in seeing to his master's undisturbed slumber.

Integra moaned again from the bed and the large wolf shifted to lick her face. Its large pink tongue, with an almost obscene gentleness, caressed the sleeping girl's face, tracing its outline. Immediately, Integra seemed to quiet and drift back into deeper sleep. The wolf regarded my presence with a satisfied smugness. I imagine it was the look one received from the devil himself after he won your soul.

I turned from the scene and left the room, my heart suddenly heavy, my steps leaden. As I found my way back down the stairs. I sighed, audibly. Alucard was not a new being to me. I had fought be his side in during the Second World War. I knew of his immense power and also, of his often depraved nature. I couldn't help but feel that a part of me wished that Integra had died in that cellar those short months ago. For at least this night, I felt, that the young, happy-go-lucky girl was indeed gone from us in the Hellsing household. And God help the young woman that now took her place. Would she be able to be strong enough to resist the vampire's web of perversity? Quietly, in the stillness of the sleeping mansion, I said a heartfelt prayer for Integra Wingates Hellsing and, for the future of the Hellsing organization.